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Music Festival Volunteers: Who, Why, What, and How?

Music Festival Volunteers: Who, Why, What, and How?

Music festivals have changed dramatically in the 50 years since Woodstock, that seminal, outdoor musical event in the United States that arguably started the much slicker concept we are familiar with today. Although music festivals in the wet UK often involve standing in pouring rain and sliding about in muddy fields, they are still for many people an essential cultural element of summer. Festivals attract all generations and ages from many social backgrounds and they cater to a wide range of tastes. The ever-growing number of new festivals suggests that demand for them will not be declining any time soon.

Primarily about entertainment, music festivals are big businesses and require complex logistical organization. And it is perhaps surprising at first to discover that so many music festivals involve volunteers. Who volunteers? Why do people volunteer at festivals? What are they attracted to and how are volunteers  recruited? What tasks do they carry out? How are they supported and their achievements acknowledged?

In this edition of Along the Web, writer Arnie Wickens looks at some major music festivals around the world to see whether websites can shed light on this unusual combination that mixes volunteering with money-making entertainment. He explores how and why the need for volunteers is identified where the ‘community’ being served only comes together for a few days or a weekend.

To read the full article

Mon, 07/18/2016
In 2015 I had my first taste of managing volunteering for a music festival. This was unlike anything I had done before. We had 40 volunteers give about 160 hours which is probably small but it was a first for our program. I was surprised at the variety of volunteers we met and the high attendance we had at orientation. I look forward to reading this article.

Mon, 08/01/2016
This will be my 3rd year managing volunteers for Holt's Winter Jam Tours, which is a large scale effort resulting in approximately 8-10K volunteers annually. I just subscribed to this e-journal and am really looking forward to reading your article! So glad to have found this resource!